Afghan govt, Taliban to meet for 1st direct peace talks
Russia will host high-level talks in capital Moscow today
MOSCOW: Russia will host the second round of the Moscow peace conference on Afghanistan this month, which its Foreign Ministry bills as the first direct high-level talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.
The importance that Russia attaches to the second session of the Moscow conference on Afghanistan on today (Friday) is evident from the fact that the event, which will be held at the level of deputy foreign ministers, will be opened by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was not present at similar meetings on Syria, even during that country’s most difficult periods.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry sent invitations to representatives of 11 countries -- Afghanistan, the U.S., India, Iran, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Afghan government has already confirmed that a delegation from the country’s High Peace Council will be attending, while the Taliban also said it would send representatives to Moscow.
“A high-ranking delegation of the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [Taliban] will take part in the conference… It is a conference about holding comprehensive discussions on finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary and ending American occupation. The Islamic Emirate will also give a detailed speech and clarify its views and policy about all aspects of the issue, including restoring peace and security,” the Taliban said in a statement.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai also announced his intention to attend the conference because “any possibility of peace talks with the Taliban should not be ignored”.